When I was still in the corporate setup and our long-awaited salary comes in, it is hard not to notice people standing one by one and going out for a quick celebratory snack.
I find it strange that so many people treat payday as a special day that seems to take troubles away. However, though it sometimes helps, it usually results in overspending. Soon they will once again impatiently wait for the next payday.
On top of the impulse buying behaviors of employees, malls and other similar establishments also found a way to rake in a lot more money through payday sales.
Paydays and sales.
Most people who worked in Metro Manila before the pandemic can testify that at least one sale happens during the payday period. It’s usually during the 15th or the end of the month, which targets the people to buy new shoes, clothes, or gadgets.
There is even a phenomenon called “Payday Friday,” when the payday intersects with a Friday, causing the already-dreaded Manila Friday traffic even worse due to all the people going out and celebrating like it’s a holiday.
However, this strategy is compelling not because of the marketing teams or the products on display but because of the planted belief among salaried workers that the payday is a call for celebration.
Many employees think that payday is a special day because we can finally reward ourselves and tap ourselves on the back that we did a good job, which can cause some people to spend more than they can make, resulting in debt.
This habit of payday celebrations is also an obvious sign of people trapped in the rat race. They would work, wait for their salary, spend like crazy, and wait anxiously for the next payday when they can finally repeat it all over again — an endless cycle of wages and expenses.
Re-calibrating how we look at paydays.
Whether your salary arrives once a month, twice a month, 5th and 25th of the month, every other Friday, or whatever day of the month it is, a payday should be viewed as just an ordinary day when we are paid for our hard work.
There is no need for a celebration because we can always celebrate any day of the month, provided we have allocated a budget for it.
Paydays are boring. That is true for the people who have budgets because they know that every peso that enters their bank accounts is already allocated even before they arrive.
Yes, you deserve a reward, but…
This is not to discredit your hard work. Yes, you deserve a reward for the job you have accomplished for the past weeks. Just don’t make it too costly.
You don’t have to be one of those who act like royalties for a weekend then struggles to survive until the next payday. Let us stop glorifying “Petsa de Peligro” when in reality, you just spent more than necessary.
For younger people, it is much more essential to learn the concept of delayed gratification. It won’t be easy at the beginning, but it will soon be worth it.
How I look at paydays.
Before even landing my first job and receiving my first salary, I already have a budget in place. And because of that preparation, paydays are just regular days when I will calibrate and re-calibrate allocations to my expenses.
I sometimes get excited during paydays, not because of what I can buy but because I can open my ledger and budgeting app to allocate funds. I even have a calendar appointment every month to balance my income and expenses.
Like anyone who worked hard at school to graduate and find a job, I also desire to buy what I never had growing up. However, I realized that most of the products offered in the market are tangible things that would quickly deteriorate over time.
Fortunately, I learned to develop discipline in my finances through the years, which became crucial in my decisions.
The payday is one of the most awaited days of the month for salaried workers. It is special because it will replenish our depleted funds, send money to our family, and of course, spend some for ourselves.
But there is also a danger when we don’t have a budget. Our peers or our gratification-excited self could easily influence us to spend on things we don’t need, simply because of the pressure to conform.
This advice is not just for the young, but also for the old. There are so many things that we can do to celebrate every month without breaking the bank. We just need to live modestly and within our means.
Happy payday soon!
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